Mute Crimson+ Review

A truly retro experience, Iced Lizard’s Mute Crimson+ presents a classic challenge.

Mute Crimson+ on PC

I’ve had a long-standing love for retro-style action games, starting since back before they were “retro.” Quite a few games in more recent years have tried to capture that NES-era with varying degrees of success. Mute Crimson+ is one of these that, frankly, captures it almost too well. With shades of classic titles such as Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden, this no-nonsense adventure brings old-school graphics, music, and difficulty as players help the nameless ninja protagonist save the badly-scripted world from hordes of monsters.

Mute Crimson+ plays very much like an 8-bit or 16-bit era game. Your ninja is capable of running, jumping, wall-climbing, and basic attacks. There are no health bars or hearts, and a single hit will dispatch any non-boss enemy or our heroic ninja. Much of the game is about precision, utilizing double-jumps and wall-clinging to weave your way through laser-riddled hallways, fighting shifts in gravity and moving platforms, and more. I can’t imagine trying to do this without a gamepad, so if you’re jumping into this adventure, have one at the ready.

Mute Cruimson+ Traps

Treadmills, lasers, and more await to make your journey difficult.

Adding to Mute Crimson+‘s charm is the intentionally-awful dialogue. Starting as early as the splash screen’s urge to “Press something!”, our heroic ninja delivers such gems as “Something happens which in my town!” and “It’s time now to fighting!” While it’s clearly not quite the same as the poorly-translated text it’s trying to emulate, it adds a splash of flavor and humor that might otherwise be absent. If that’s not you’re thing, not to worry — the game is much more focused on the action than on any in-depth story, so you can pretty quickly flip through the cutscenes and keep to battling your way through.

What really makes Mute Crimson+ something special, I think, is that it’s a no-frills type of game. Rather than trying to recreate a retro feel with modern tools, Iced Lizard keeps things to a simple three-color palette, NES-approved chiptune soundtrack, and purely unfrilled gameplay. Add in the low $4.99 price on Steam (10% off through Aug 20), and it’s a surefire win for those of us who yearn for real, classic-style games. There’s no flashy animations, no dubstep, nothing but ice cold retro gaming goodness. While the checkpoint system and lack of “Game Over” screen is a bit more forgiving than the games of previous generations, it still retains much of that old-time look and feel. Of course, this hard-nosed dedication to keeping things rooted in the past isn’t for everyone, so I can’t exactly give Mute Crimson+ a blanket recommendation. However, f you grew up in the NES era like I did and you find yourself yearning for something like the games of your youth, it’s a cheap and effective fix.

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